Publisher - January 2023

“Folks are usually about
as happy as they make
their minds up to be.”
—Abraham Lincoln—

As a species, we humans are always glad to put things behind us. I vividly remember New Year’s Eve on December 31, 2019, as everyone was “beyond ready” to leave 2019 in the dust. Sayonara 2019; you sucked! The year 2020 was bound to be better and more promising. Well, that didn’t work out, and I can’t even remember what was so wrong with 2019 that we all wanted it to go away. Can you?

The truth is life is hard. Every year has good and bad moments. That’s how life is, right when you think you can make a good run for it, you break your foot or get a flat tire. However, in the grand scheme of our planet, Americans, especially those of us who are lucky enough to live in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, have it pretty good, even on a bad day. We have access to clean water, good medical care, overall friendly people, a variety of churches with the freedom to attend which ever one we want—or not at all. We have delicious, fresh, clean seafood, beautiful landscapes, every modern-day convenience, and even on the worst day, we can drive across the bridge, look out at a stunning sprawling view and know we are home. Some days we even get to see a dolphin or two welcoming us.

With all that said, I am the first to admit that 2022 was harder than most years for everyone, and there are many tangible reasons for it. Overall, the year seemed to cast a heaviness that infiltrated our psyches. Even in the midst of joy, there was a sense of burden that loomed in wait. It was as if gravity became graver, grasping a portion of our happiness, holding it in detention. It felt as if we were taxed on joy, having to give a third of it away to some malevolent monstrous machine that couldn’t get its fill. Everyone felt it—the weight of the world—and it is heavy.

This year doesn’t offer any new promises, which means we must fend for ourselves, nurture our happiness back to life. The good news is we can do this through our mighty magic mental abilities! I’m not being negative, but I don’t see a whole lot changing anytime soon. As such, it is our jobs to make “shift happen,” and almost all shifts start in our minds. You can be happier this year. We can fend off the doom and gloom, but it will require a conscious effort. Here are my suggestions of how to get that conscious effort moving in a positive direction to reclaim happiness:

Reduce Your Intake:
Because of apps like TikTok, Facebook, YouTube and the rest of them, we have become a generation that ceaselessly scrolls through snippets of nothingness, which doesn’t add one iota of positivity or intelligence to our lives, thus bingeing on a bunch of baloney that plunges us into a black hole of feeling burdened and weighed down. That pretty much defines the word overdose, which we are all suffering from. The massive amounts of media and internet stimuli is a big, fat, fatal overdose—more powerful and infiltrative than our brains can handle. Humans were never meant to be exposed to everything in the world. Allowing all the gobbledygook to saturate your mind is like taking a handful of random pills. You have no idea what you’re taking, and some of it can be dangerous. It IS one of the biggest malevolent monstrous machines out there eating up our happiness. Take your power back and shake out your happiness. It’s in there, you just have to retrieve it.

Be Gentle With Yourself:
We are our own worst enemies and beat ourselves up way too much. Be kind to yourself. Monitor your self-talk; make sure it’s positive. Give yourself a break occasionally. Kick perfection to the curb. When you feel down or anxious, be the first one to console and nurture yourself. Let yourself know it will all be okay, and you are enough.

Seek Happiness:
You find what you seek, so be on the lookout for happiness. Do you understand the law of finding what you seek? Here is a simplified example: I can take my dog out in the backyard (I live on a golf course) and not find one golf ball. However, while I’m out there, if I think to look for golf balls, I always find one. In other words, you find things when you tune into them. This is true for happiness, too. Unless you consciously tune into it, it will remain elusive.

Be Grateful for the Mundane:
Once you begin to seek happiness, you will find it doesn’t have to come from the extraordinary. Happiness is everywhere you go because it is inside your mind, heart and soul. All it takes to find it is a mind shift. I find happiness in my one cup of coffee each morning. If I put whipped cream on it, it’s even happier! Train your brain to look for the good—if you’re stuck behind a school bus in traffic, look at the children and see their little smiles instead of seething in road rage and impatience. If you have a long commute, have a morning playlist that makes you come alive, or listen to comedy and laugh all the way to work. You have to make an effort to find happiness because unhappiness is the easier path.

Set Boundaries:
Boundaries are mental fences you build in your brain that give you directions on how you want to operate your life—what you’re willing to do or allow, and what you’re not willing to do or allow. Boundaries are all about you. You can’t control others’ behavior, but you can control how you will accept it or not. Boundaries improve your quality of life and help minimize drama. Create some solid boundaries this year all designed to protect your happiness.

Create a Happy Place:
Lastly, let’s go back to how lucky we are to live in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Most of us got here by choice, right? So, there must be at least one spot which is your “Calgon” and takes you away from it all. Find that spot and go to it; this is your happy place. Set rules for your spot—no cell phones, no anger, no sharing it with people who upset you. Cherish this spot as if it is your heaven on earth. After all, it is.

This is the year to reclaim our happiness. The next 365 days will come and go whether we are happy or not, so why make them happy? We have sacrificed for too long in the midst of our perceived crumbling world. Remember, happiness can be found everywhere when we live on purpose and seek the goodness the world has to offer. There is so much good out there, the only difference is hardly anyone talks about it. Let’s start a revolution all about the good in the world. That’s what Pink Magazine is all about. Happy New Year, all year long!

Think Pink,
Elizabeth Millen